Old Town, Prague

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  • Portal of Unitarian Palace
    Portal of Unitarian Palace
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  • Adria Palace
    Adria Palace
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  • Adria Palace
    Adria Palace
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    Havelske Trziste

    by Imbi Updated Nov 17, 2003

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    Havelske Trziste is one of the centres of attraction for most tourists. I would love to go there again as it was the place you find plenty of local foodstuff like seasonal home-grown fruit & vegetables, drinks and artwork, leather goods, flowers, wooden toys and delightful ceramics.
    It seemed to me that dry fruit were very popular there as plenty of people were buying them.

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    ADRIA PALACE

    by balhannah Written Aug 12, 2013

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    The Adria Palace is a huge building that will make you stop in your tracks and have a look at the style of architecture known as Rondocubsim, (Czech Cubist style using arcs.) It was very different to what I had seen elsewhere in Prague.

    The original Palace was built in the second half of the 14th century. This was demolished and a new Palace that covers an area of over 2,000 square meters, was built between 1923/24.
    Looking at it, I could see resemblance to Italian Renaissance palaces I had seen photo's of.

    The ground floor has large glassed windows and is used by businesses. The terrace leading to Narodni Trida, is decorated with marble statues of girls and the portal to Jungmannova Street has a pair of marble statues of Mariner and Reaper. The second floor façade is also decorated with neoclassical marble sculptures bigger than life of Merkur, Perun, Demeter and Park.

    At the centre of the facade is a neo-classicist metal Adria sculpture sitting on a ledge.
    The sculpture was created in 1927 and is believed to be the biggest galvanoplastic statue in the world, as its technology is unique. It was made in a special institute in Geislingen, Germany, is 5 meters high and weighs 3-4 tons.
    The Clock in the hall is decorated with sculptures of Day and Night, Sun and Moon, and 12 sculptures of the zodiac.

    The City of Prague are now the owners of this building.

    Adria Palace Adria Palace
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    Gothic Door

    by bpwillet Written Mar 17, 2004

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    What is really neat about the Old Town Square and most of Prague is that there are little things to see everywhere you go. This Gothic door was designed by Matthias Rejsek as the entrance to the Town Hall. The interior of this entrance hall has been decorated in mosaics done by a Czech painter known as Mikulas Ales.

    Rejsek's Gothic Door-Old Town Hall
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    Tyn courtyard

    by german_eagle Written Nov 16, 2005

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    A very nice place is the Tyn courtyard - located right behind the Tyn church. This courtyard is surrounded by nice old townhouses, among them a wonderful Renaissance palazzo with sgraffito decorated facade and tuscan style loggia.

    Several cute shops, galleries and restaurants (see my restaurant tips) add to the charm of this quiet oasis in the otherwise busy old town.

    Tyn courtyard - Renaissance facade with loggia
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    For fans of the macabre: a mummified human hand

    by JessH Updated Dec 14, 2010

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    Just off the Old Town Square is the church of St. James / Jacob (Kostel St. Jakuba)... this beautiful church is tucked away in a corner and is easy to miss.
    Every year thousands of visitors walk into this church, gaze up at the richly decorated ceiling, snap a few photos and actually miss one of the most intriguing aspects of this church: a REAL mummified human hand!

    Legend has it that a couple of centuries ago a thief tried to make off with jewels adorning the Madonna. The statue grabbed his arm and didn't let go. Apparently the only way to free him was to cut his hand off... and to this day it hangs by the door as a warning to anyone who may have "sticky fingers"...

    Walk into the church and immediately look up to your right... there it is!

    Entry to the church is free and it opens at 10am in the morning.
    The church was originally constructed in 1373. The Franciscans Order commissioned this baroque church in 1689 after its 13th-century predecessor had burnt down.

    (In this church we again found an all-seeing eye, the symbol of the Knights Templar (visible all over Prague). It's situated above the altar.

    Mummified human hand, St. James Church, Prague Baroque exterior of St. James Church, Prague Above the altar, St. James Church, Prague
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    clementinum

    by doug48 Written Jun 15, 2008

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    in 1556 emperor ferdinand I invited the jesuits to prague to promote catholism. they established their headquarters in the former dominican monastery of st. clement. they established a university in the 17th century. in 1773 the pope dissolved the order of jesuits and the university was secularized. today the clementinum is prague's national library. in clementinum's chapel of mirrors are frequent classical concerts that are open to the public.

    clementinum
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    st. gallus church

    by doug48 Updated Jun 17, 2008

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    in 1280 this church was built to serve prague's german community. the area around st. gallus was called gall's town. in the 14th century gall's town was incorporated into old town. in the 18th century the church was remodeled in the baroque style by giovanni santini aichel.

    st. gallus church
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    Traveling Solo? Take a walking tour

    by klmousseau Written Jan 6, 2009

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    I was there by myself in September and went on a "Free walking Tour".
    http://www.eurocheapo.com/blog/prague-free-walking-tours-every-day.html
    they met on the "northern" edge of the Old Town Square by a brown sign on the building on a corner to the right St. Nicholas church. The tour is "free", but the guides do request a tip at the end.
    The tour was interesting and they bring you to a lot of places you wouldn't find on your own; PLUS you can meet other travelers!
    They also have pub crawler tours, check with the local info center on the route from the Powder Tower to the Old Square.

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    church of st. francis

    by doug48 Written Jun 15, 2008

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    the church of st. francis was once part of the monastery of the crusading knights of the red star. the current baroque church was built between 1679 and 1686. today it houses an exhibition on the crusades. it's 1702 pipe organ has been played by mozart and dvorak. there are frequent classical concerts at the church.

    church of st. francis
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    An Art Nouveau palace along Masna

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Dec 17, 2006

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    Walking along Masna you can find you your left this wonderful Art Nouveau palace. It is characterized by a beautiful facade with paintings. To the center it is possible to admire the Virgin with Child, while to the sides Mars and Venus are represented.

    Art Nouveau palace Art Nouveau palace Art Nouveau palace Art Nouveau palace
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    Kostel sv.Frantiska

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Jan 14, 2007

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    The Church of St. Francis belongs to the only Bohemian order founded by Sant'Agnes the Boems in 1252. During the Baroque period the order of the Riders of the Cross made an expansion of the church and they created a monastery. The today's aspect goes up at the end of the 17th century on the project of Jean Baptiste Mathey. In the dome there is a beautiful fresco of the Universal Judgment

    Kostel sv.Frantiska Kostel sv.Frantiska
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    Dum U Zlateho

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Jan 6, 2007

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    In an angle of the courtyard of Tyn you can see the beautiful Renaissance building called House To the Gold Ring, with a beautiful facade decorated with graffiti. Today it is a detachment of the Gallery Of The Town of Prague.

    Dum U Zlateho Dum U Zlateho Dum U Zlateho Dum U Zlateho Dum U Zlateho
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    McGee's Ghost Tours of Prague!

    by JessH Updated Jun 13, 2011

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    Like so many ancient European cities, Prague also has a dark chapter in its history and when I had heard that Prague (like Edinburgh, for example) has an underground part of the city, a tour just had to be booked!
    You can either book the tour online (which I did) or approach one of the McGee's guides who advertise in front of the Astronomical clock every day.

    We met there in the evening and were greeted by a young and very friendly guide. He was obviously passionate about his city and the tour was very memorable thanks to his jokes and also personal insights.

    One of the main entrances to the underground city is actually through the Astronomical clock building, and you can only enter here with a licensed guide. Each of us was handed an electronic lantern, a large creaky wooden door was unlocked, and down the wonky stone steps we went...

    ...

    We got along really well with our guide, and upon hearing that my husband is an audio engineer he told us about a little-known and very special phenomenon at Prague castle... (more about that in a separate tip...)

    I'm not usually a fan of tours, but in some cases they are really vital so you don't wander "blindly" through a city missing out on so many interesting things, like the Black Madonna statues marking where Prague's Knights Templar temples used to be, and the amazing play of light and colour above one of the old entrances to the underground city (click on photos to see). The 2 lions were painted in such a way that with normal light, they looked like the surrounding stone. But if you held a lantern (or in our case, a camera flash) up against them, they shimmered in a golden colour, indicating a "secret" entrance to an underground area. He also told us about the mummified human hand inside the St. James church (see my Off the Beaten Path tip for that.)

    Our guide also told us the heart-breaking and chilling story of the life of Prague's most famous executioner: Jan Mydlar. This individual's tragic faith really stayed with me and affected me deeply.
    All in all, we enjoyed this tour immensely, and I would highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to know more about Prague's past.
    --> PRICE (year 2010):
    We paid 300 CZK per person for a "Ghosts & Legends of Old Town" Tour and as we booked online for a special offer, we received the Underground Walking Tour for free.

    Secret entrance to underground city (Prague) Secret entrance to underground city (Prague) A Black Madonna for the Knights Templar (Prague) McGee's Ghost Tours brochure (Prague)
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    SAINT MARTIN DE PORRES

    by balhannah Updated Aug 22, 2013

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    Located in St. Giles Church, in a glass case, is Saint Martin De Porres, a dark skinned man, who was born in Peru in 1579 as an illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a black woman who was a freed slave. Sadly, because of his skin colour, his father refused to take care of him and he was dependent on his mother.

    In 1586, he entered the Dominican convent in Lima as a lay brother. This was a very unusual occurrence, as a mulatto usually wasn't taken into a religious order in Peru, how-ever, Martín was considered an exception and became a Dominican lay brother in 1610. He was known and noted for his work on behalf of the poor, establishing an orphanage and a children's hospital caring for the sick during an epidemic and for setting up a shelter for dogs and cats. He had amazing ability to communicate with animals and also performed many miraculous cures on people.
    St. Martin was placed in charge of an infirmary when he was 34, this was where he stayed until he died of Typhoid at the age of 59.
    He was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized by Pope John XXIII.
    Saint Martin De Porres is the patron saint of mixed-race people and all those seeking interracial harmony.

    This is one of his miracles, known as "St. Martin and the Mice!"

    The story is quite famous.

    Mice had infested the Monastery's linen Robes, so they had to be rid of! The Monk's wanted to poison them, but St. Martin didn't, instead, he caught a Mouse...............

    And he said to the Mouse.... "Little brothers, why are you and your companions doing so much harm to the things belonging to the sick? Look, I shall not kill you, but you are to assemble all your friends and lead them to the far end of the garden. Everyday I will bring you food if you leave the wardrobe alone.
    ........Where-upon Martín lead a Pied Piper-like mouse parade toward a small new den. Both the mice and Martín kept their word, and the closet infestation was solved for good"

    I found this story interesting and the details of his life very interesting!
    Now I know why he is shown with a dog, a cat and a mouse eating in peace from the same dish.

    DID YOU KNOW
    The music video for the song "Like a Prayer" by pop singer Madonna features a saint inspired by Martin de Porres.

    St. Giles is open to the public from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm daily

    Saint Martin De Porres
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    THE HANGING MAN

    by balhannah Written Aug 9, 2013

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    Prague was full of surprises!
    In Husova street was another one! Looking up, I saw some poor fellow hanging onto a beam with only one hand! He has been dangling above the street since 1997, and hasn't fallen yet!
    Thank- goodness it is just a fiberglass statue created by David Cerny.

    It is known as “the intellectual at the end of the millennium”.

    Hanging Man
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